Blimey, it is such a long time since I last posted however, it is with good reason! Along with my boyfriend and parents, I have been on an amazing road trip around the Southern states of America. We had some fantastic experiences and I must admit I am rather sad to be home and back to reality!!!
One element of the trip that all four of us really enjoyed was the food; the Deep South has such an awesome variety of cuisines and tasty treats on offer from mouth-watering barbecue, the freshest seafood, spicy Creole delights and modern twists on traditional home cooking. Over the next month, I will be writing about the many places we visited, along with some of the delicacies we enjoyed and some mouth-watering recipes!
Another reason for my silence is that I had a total hip replacement last week. As I am currently on crutches and will be stuck at home for some time, I am envisaging lots of cooking and blogging so watch this space!!
Our trip was certainly a memorable one, right from the moment we got to the airport! My Dad spoilt us rotten and arranged for the four of us to fly to Atlanta with British Airways Club World. When my parents lived in America and I was at University in the UK, I was a fairly frequent flyer with BA and although their flights were always comfortable and the customer service was fantastic, I never had the luxury of flying in Club.
Our long journey started with a visit to the British Airways lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5, which is free for Club World customers, Silver and Gold Executive Club members. It is also possible to pay for access to the lounge if you are flying with BA and I would highly recommend it, particularly if you are flying internationally and have a long wait at the airport. The lounge offers a wide variety of food and drink that customers can help themselves to including, hot meals, soups and salads, alcohol, soft drinks, teas and coffees. There is free internet, computer access, newspapers and magazines which would be handy if you are travelling on business. The Galleries lounge offers numerous amenities to help the weary traveller relax and arrive at their destination refreshed.
On to the flight! I must admit we all rather enjoyed a few glasses of wine in the lounge to celebrate the start of our holiday so we were almost the last people to board the plane….! This was also due to the fact that unfortunately, British Airways let us down with the wheelchair that my Dad booked to assist me to the gate due to my dodgy hip. This was possibly the only thing that disappointed us about our BA experience, especially as we had booked a wheelchair from the lounge weeks in advance and confirmed upon check in. Anyway, fortunately I just about managed to walk to the plane (albeit painfully) and we were off. I think that British Airways should look to improve their processes for disabled passengers so that this does not happen to someone more in need than myself.
We were greeted on board with a choice of champagne cocktails (a Kir Royale or Bucks Fizz) or Champagne (Taittinger Brut Reserve NV or Champagne de Castelnau Brut Rose NV) whilst we settled into our seats. Each passenger had their own ‘booth’, complete with footrest, so that when the seat was fully reclined, it was possible to lie flat; this allowed for an extremely comfortable and restful flight which left me feeling refreshed upon our arrival in Atlanta. I was also impressed with the little touches in Club World such as good range of toiletries from Elemis provided to each passenger, thicker, more comfortable pillows and blankets and fresh flowers in the toilets.
The food provided on board was also a real experience! Each person was given a menu printed on thick card as well as a wine list, proper cutlery, glassware, table-cloth and serviette ring! I must admit, I almost felt like I was eating in a restaurant rather than on a plane.
To start, I opted for ‘Marinated Scottish Salmon with seaweed salad and Matsuhisa dressing’ along with a piece of flavoursome focaccia and a seasonal salad. The salmon was wonderfully meaty and the portion generous. I loved the apple and balsamic dressing on the salad which provided a wonderful sharp contrast to the earthy flavour of the leaves. I chose a 2012 Sauvignon Blanc from the Petroni Vineyards in Sonoma Valley, California to compliment my first course which worked very well. The wine list offered a very good selection and I loved the background given about each vineyard and wine.
On to the main course; I opted for ‘Seared fillet of British Beef with a parsley crust, Parmentier potatoes, purple sprouting broccoli and a chesnut mushroom sauce’. The sauce was silky and flavourful and complemented the tender beef perfectly. Unlike most plane food, the vegetables were not overcooked and still retained a slight crunch; it was evident that all ingredients were fresh and well sourced. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish and loved the crockery it was served on.
Not being a fan of anything banana related, I decided to go for ‘Vanilla and dulce de leche ice cream by The Ice Cream Union’ for dessert rather than the ‘Banoffee delice with toffee sauce’ although Neil did say that he really enjoyed it! My ice cream was perfect, I only wish there was more of it although I certainly didn’t need it!! We were then offered coffee with Hotel Chocolat truffles, which was a nice touch.
The club kitchen offered a range of snacks for those customers who were still peckish however, I opted to have a sleep and peruse the films on offer. Before we landed, we were given afternoon tea which consisted of ‘An individual selection of sandwiches featuring British chicken Caesar, Scottish smoked salmon with crème fraiche and mozzarella with roasted tomato mayonnaise. Fruit scone served warm with clotted cream and strawberry preserve’. The sandwiches were delicious and Neil was thrilled that the mozzarella one ‘tasted like pizza’! The scones were fab, not in the slightest bit dry and wonderfully buttery!
All in all, our flight was a wonderful experience and the superb food and drink only added to this. I would thoroughly recommend flying with British Airways Club World however, we will not be doing it again in a hurry as we do not currently have enough air-miles to afford an upgrade!